James Bull, 23, a charity volunteer, and Jonathan Williams, 26, a journalist for a financial magazine, were on a date Wednesday when they dropped into the John Snow for a cider.
"It's a nice little pub, it's a nice atmosphere," Williams told The Guardian
. "The people are friendly, it's not too expensive considering the area and it's a decent pub where you can just relax."
The men claim they had been kissing when they were approached by a man who told them that he didn't want to see that kind of thing because it offended him.
"We had just kissed. It was nothing obscene. He said if we didn't tone it down, we would have to leave," the BBC
quoted Bull as saying.
He said that after they had another drink he gave the other man a quick peck on the lips, and was then approached by a woman who claimed to be the landlady. She told them they were being obscene and needed to leave. He added that the man who stated he was the landlord grabbed Williams by the collar before they left.
"We weren't being over the top; there wasn't anything that would be deemed unseemly," Williams the The Guardian
. "I'm not the kind of person to do that kind of thing in public."
Jamie Morton, a 23-year-old man who witnessed the incident, spoke up saying that the behaviour of staff was outrageous.
"It was shocking and aggressive," he told the BBC
. "There was a lot of venom and anger inflicted on these polite guys who were were genuinely doing nothing wrong at all."
Lucy Clements, 27, said she was shocked and spoke with staff who confirmed the man who raised the objections was the landlord, before she and Morton were also asked to leave.
Bull contacted police and they took a statement.
"I felt so belittled, and to be made to feel so dirty and cheap over something like that – it's just wrong," he told The Guardian
Williams told Pink Paper
he plans to write a letter of complaint to the Samuel Smith brewery "asking if they really think it's wise to be removing people for harmless PDAs [public displays of affection] in a bar that is right in the heart of the city's gay district."
The incident resulted in the kiss-in protest being organised through Facebook.
The planned date for the event at the John Snow Pub is 21 April, and more than 400 people have already indicated online that they plan to attend.
Neither the pub nor the brewery provided any comments to the BBC, The Guardian or Pink Paper.